Dry weather sees good seeding progress

Alberta Crop Report: Conditions as of May 21, 2019

Since April 1, the western parts of the province received at least 40 mm of accumulated precipitation, while areas in the northern parts of the Peace Region, eastern parts of the North West, most parts of the Central, and eastern parts of the Southern Region have seen less than 20 mm of rain. Frost was reported in some parts of the Southern and Central Regions, with minimal damage to seeded crops as overnight temperatures hovered between -2C and -4C.

Favorable dry weather conditions over the past week have allowed seeding to progress significantly. Provincially, as of May 21, about 73 per cent of all crops and 72 per cent of major crops have been seeded, compared to 42 per cent of major crops a week ago and the 5-year average (2014-2018) of 55 per cent. Compared to the 5-year averages, producers in all regions are almost a week ahead. Regionally, seeding progress is most advanced at 83 per cent in the Southern Region, followed by 73 per cent in the Central and 67 per cent in the North East Regions. For the North West and Peace Regions, seeding progress are at 65 and 66 per cent, respectively.

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Over the past week, a large system brought rain to many areas in the Southern Region, as well as some parts of the Central and North West Regions, while the rest of province remained in dry conditions. As a result, soil moisture reserves improved for the Southern Region, but deteriorated somewhat for all other regions in the province. Provincially, surface soil moisture is rated (sub-surface soil moisture ratings shown in brackets) at 11 (12) per cent poor, 33 (33) per cent fair, 47 (45) per cent good, 8 (10) per cent excellent, and 1 (0) per cent excessive.

Pasture and tame hay are not in good shape across the province. Cool temperatures and a lack of moisture have resulted in a slow start to pasture and tame hay growth in most areas. Rain and heat are needed to improve growing conditions. Compared to the 5-year averages, pasture and tame hay conditions have deteriorated by 18 and 12 per cent, respectively. Pasture conditions (tame hay conditions are in brackets) across the province are reported as 13 (10) per cent poor, 44 (43) per cent fair, 41 (45) per cent good and 2 (2) per cent excellent.

Region One: Southern (Strathmore, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Foremost)

  • Most parts of the region received over 15 mm of rain, contributing to germination and boosting surface soil moisture. However, emergence has been slow, due to the cooler temperatures. Overall, seeding is estimated at 83 per cent of all crops completed and 39 per cent have emerged. For major crops, seeding progress was reported at 81 per cent, up 14 per cent from a week ago.
  • About 84 per cent of spring wheat, 93 per cent of durum, 79 per cent of barley, 71 per cent of canola, 94 per cent of dry peas, 62 per cent of corn and 98 per cent of sugar beets have now been seeded.
  • Pasture and tame hay fields are in need of moisture and heat. Pasture conditions (tame hay conditions shown in brackets) are rated as 18 (14) per cent poor, 29 (26) per cent fair, 49 (55) per cent good and 4 (5) per cent excellent.
  • Fall seeded crops are rated as 6 per cent poor, 18 per cent fair, 68 per cent good, and 8 per cent excellent.

Region Two: Central (Rimbey, Airdrie, Coronation, Oyen)

Over the past week, favorable weather conditions advanced seeding to 73 per cent of all crops, with 22 per cent emerged. For major crops, about 74 per cent have now been seeded, up 34 per cent from last week. Rain has been variable across the region, from areas receiving no precipitation to those with about an inch of rain.

  • Nearly 82 per cent of spring wheat, 75 per cent of barley, 62 per cent of canola, 96 per cent of dry peas, 93 per cent of chickpeas and 80 per cent of lentils are reported as seeded.
  • Hay and pasture growth for most parts of the region have been slow, due to lack of moisture and heat. Pasture conditions (tame hay conditions shown in brackets) are now rated as 18 (17) per cent poor, 23 (22) per cent fair and 59 (61) per cent good.
  • Fall seeded crops are rated as 4 per cent poor, 28 per cent fair, 66 per cent good, and 2 per cent excellent.

Region Three: North East (Smoky Lake, Vermilion, Camrose, Provost)

  • Favorable weather conditions contributed to seeding progress to 67 per cent, up 35 per cent from a week ago. However, only 14 per cent of crops have emerged, mainly due to dry, windy conditions and cold nights. Heat and moisture are needed to accelerate germination and promote growth in hay and pastures.
  • Nearly 81 per cent of spring wheat, 44 per cent of barley, 59 per cent of canola and 94 per cent of dry peas have now been seeded.
  • Lack of moisture have led to a deterioration of pasture and tame hay growth conditions over the past two weeks. Pasture conditions (tame hay conditions shown in brackets) are now rated as 9 (5) per cent poor, 74 (76) per cent fair and 17 (19) per cent good.
  • For fall seeded crops, conditions are reported as 19 per cent fair, 78 per cent good and 3 per cent excellent.

Region Four: North West (Barrhead, Edmonton, Leduc, Drayton Valley, Athabasca)

  • Dry weather over the past week have allowed seeding progress to advance to 65 per cent, up 26 per cent from a week ago. However, fairly dry conditions and strong winds are drying up fields. In addition, some areas are still cold, delaying germination. As a result, only two per cent of crops have emerged.
  • About 81 per cent of spring wheat, 54 per cent of barley and canola and 94 per cent of dry peas are reported as seeded.
  • Although hay and pasture conditions have slightly improved from two weeks ago due to warmer temperatures, growth is still somewhat slow. Pasture conditions (tame hay conditions shown in brackets) are rated as 10 (0) per cent poor, 60 (51) per cent fair and 30 (49) per cent good.

Region Five: Peace River (Fairview, Falher, Grande Prairie, Valleyview)

  • Facilitated by sunny and windy conditions, seeding for the region is now 66 per cent completed, compared to 37 per cent from a week ago and seven per cent emerged.
  • Almost 72 per cent of spring wheat, 53 per cent of barley, 60 per cent of canola and 83 per cent of dry peas have now been seeded.
  • Hay and pasture growing conditions have deteriorated from two weeks ago and are in need of moisture. Pasture conditions (tame hay conditions shown in brackets) are rated as 7 (6) per cent poor, 47 (47) per cent fair, 43 (44) per cent good and 3 (3) per cent excellent.

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